Remembering old landmarks

Published 3:23 pm Monday, April 26, 2021

Milt and I enjoy taking walks in the morning. Sometimes we go seven to 10 miles around town. One of my favorite parts is remembering old stores and buildings that were a prominent part of my childhood. Many of them are long gone but they still evoke wonderful memories of growing up here.

It’s amazing no matter where you lived in Washington, if you grew up in the late 50’s and 60’s, we may all have similar memories.  Although each community had its own uniqueness, every one of them had a candy store where you could buy two for a penny cookies and penny candy. No matter where you went to school, a class trip to the Maola Ice Cream Plant or the Coca Cola or Roberson’s Beverage Plant was one of the best days of the school year.

Speaking of school, I’m sure many other students remember the black and white saddle shoes we wore to school, which were the bane of fashion

and required trips to Mr. Herman Eason’s shoe repair shop, the City Shoe Hospital on Main Street next door to Tayloe’s Drug Store.

Further down Main Street, I remember going to Frank’s Jewelry Store to get my ears pierced and buying my first records from Jowdy’s as rites of passage. Stopping to look in the window of Adrian Garris’ Television and Appliance Store on Main Street was something I often did because Mr. Garris was my hero.  He or one of his repairmen would come to our house to replace a blown-out tube in the back of the T.V. so we could watch Sky King, Roy Rogers and all our favorite Saturday morning westerns and cartoons.

Closer to where I lived on Fourth Street, I still remember the Gravely and Hassell’s Tobacco Warehouses on Bridge Street where you could smell dried tobacco for blocks.

Around the corner at Bridge and Third Streets, Go More Chevrolet Car Lot with its shiny looking cars were the stuff dreams were made of.

Pomp Credle’s Restaurant at Fifth and Gladden Street had the best twin cone ice cream cones ever and Matthew Gibbs Store across the street from Pomp’s sold the best Baby Ruth candy bars. Shorty’s Sandwich Shop at Fourth and Pierce had the best ‘Dirty Reds’ which were shaved ice snow cones with sweet fruit flavored syrup poured over top. And Smith Brothers Grocery on Fifth Street sold the best red hot sausages.

Most of us growing up at that time can remember going to McClellan’s Department Store to buy freshly popped popcorn, everything you needed for school, and sometimes you brought things because it seemed like a good idea at the time like baby turtles, goldfish, roller skates, Jacks, marbles or Old Maid cards to have fun with your family and friends.

I miss those places and have fond memories of those times. I love walking by those old locations and reminiscing.


Leesa Jones is a Washington native and the co-executive director of the Washington Waterfront Underground Railroad Museum.